Pick of the month
Although I’ve had another month full of great reading experiences I can’t go past the first book I finished as my pick for the month. PRESENT DARKNESS is Malla Nunn’s best book to date (and I’ve loved its three predecessors). In 1950’s South Africa two black students are accused of the murder of a white couple and Nunn does a fantastic job of making the reader feel how skin colour impacts every aspect of life in this time and place. It’s a cracker of a story to boot.
The full list (titles preceded by the ++ symbol are all recommended)
- ++ CLAUSTROPHOBIA by Tracy Ryan [AWW2015, Australia]
- ++ DEATH OF A NIGHTINGALE by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis
- ++ EVERY BITTER THING by Leighton Gage [Brazil]
- DISHONOUR by Gabrielle Lord [AWW2015, Australia]
- ++ GENTLY DOES IT by Alan Hunter [#1955Book, England]
- ++ LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER’S KILLER by Cath Staincliffe [England]
- ++ PORT FAIRY MURDERS, THE by Robert Gott [Australia – review to come]
- ++ SNOWY RIVER MAN by Lizzy Chandler [AWW2015, Australia]
- ++ WHITE CROCODILE by KT Medina [Cambodia/England]
- ++ WRITTEN IN STONE by Ellery Adams [USA]
- ZIG ZAG GIRL, THE by Elly Griffiths [England]
Although she died at the end of January I didn’t catch up with The Australian‘s obituary for Colleen McCullough until about a week later. Wish I’d never seen it at all. Although it does a decent job of describing her many achievements and successes it may as well not have bothered given its opening paragraph in which it is her looks (they use the phrase ‘plain of feature’) and weight that get top billing – and the fact that these attributes didn’t stop her attracting men!
At first I was angry and scream-y and rant-y. Now I’m just sad. Why are we bothering with something like the Australian Women Writers Challenge when this country’s so-called national newspaper can write so degradingly about one of our best and most successful writers of either gender? It feels like a lost cause. The same paper’s obituary for another beloved Australian writer a couple of years earlier makes no mention of his looks or weight. But of course he was a he so those things don’t matter.
I did most of my reading of Colleen McCullough before beginning this blog so she doesn’t feature here much but I did post something about my reasons for admiring her when she was included as one of six literary legends for an Australia Day stamp release in 2010.
Progress Towards 2015’s Book-ish Goals
|Australian Women Writers Challenge||Read and review 25 eligible books||6/25|
|Reading US Fiction Challenge||Read 6 books by new to me authors set in different states of the US||1/6|
|Personal – Outside my comfort zone||Read at least 6 books that aren’t crime/mystery/thriller novels||2/6|
|Personal – Read Globally||Read at least 10 books set in countries that aren’t Australia, America or England||11/10|
|Personal – Reduce TBR||Read at least 20 books I owned as at 31 December 2014||8/20|
|Personal – Buy Australian||Buy no physical or eBooks from non-Australian stores||0/0|
|Personal – Read older books too||Participate in at least 6 of the monthly ‘pick a year’ reading challenges hosted at Past Offences||2/6|
I’m doing well with most of these goals though my progress towards reducing my TBR slowed dramatically in February (only 1 of those 8 books was read during the month). I must do better on that front. But I’m quite pleased that I’ve already read 2 non-crime books (including a romance – which is almost as far from my comfort zone as it’s possible to go) and have another on order from the library. Even though I’ve completed my personal goal to read globally I’m going to keep counting.
I’ve chosen Australian author Anne Buist’s debut novel MEDEA’S CURSE for my book club to read this month. The author is a perinatal psychiatrist of many years and has drawn on her experiences to write fiction about women who kill children. My library haul includes Eva Dolan’s LONG WAY HOME and Philippe Georget’s AUTUMN, ALL THE CATS RETURN and my ears will be enjoying Katherine Howell’s TELL THE TRUTH to start the month. I’m determined to pick a couple of books from my TBR mountain too.
What about you? Did you have a favourite book for February? Have you got something special lined up for March?